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Hillary Clinton reveals a hidden secret about her new life as ex-candidate

July 10, 2008 | 11:08 pm

Yes, it's hard to picture, but good for her.

The woman who made pantsuits a staple of the late-night joke sessions and nearly became the first female presidential candidate of a major American political party has revealed a secret about her new life as presidential loser.

Lost in the thousands of words Hillary Clinton uttered in praise of Barack Obama, her party's nominee, and its political agenda during a speech earlier today to 2,000 women supporters in New York City, were a few littOne of the all-time most popular cinematic couples was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who actually made dancing gracefully look possible to normal humans and Hillary Clinton, commencing her new life as ex-presidential candidate, cited them both in a speech 7-10-08le-noticed paragraphs that caught The Ticket's eye.

The 60-year-old senator tossed them out to the receptive audience almost in passing. But The Times' Louise Roug was transcribing the speech (which you can find in its entirety in one of our occasional In Her Own Words items here).

And here's what Clinton said in a kind of girlish admission:

"There are some differences (between Obama and myself).

"For example, Barack said (to me), 'you look kind of rested.' I said, 'well, kind of is the right descriptor.'

"But I'm actually -– don't tell anybody –- trying to exercise a little bit, which I'm told does wonders for a person.

"Because during the campaign," Clinton continued in a confessional tone, "I'm sure you've read, Barack would get up faithfully every morning and go to the gym. And I would get up, and get my hair done.

"It's one of those Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire things that are part of our lives."

Yes, sure, she was dating herself by referencing movies from the '30s and '40s (the nineteen-thirties and forties, when Democrats owned the White House), when the often-paired duo of Rogers and Astaire would glide across studio floors as if their feet weren't moving.

And maybe some of the 30-somethings in the audience were puzzled enough to hustle back to their office and try Googling these Asthair and Rodgers people. And they would learn that she was originally Virginia McMath and died in 1995 and he was originally Frederick Austerlitz and passed away in 1987.

But that's history. Clinton's coiffured confession and romantic reminiscence by someone who looked anything but romantic going after politics' Big Prize these last 18 months was rather refreshing. We wish her luck on the treadmill and the elliptical.

Now, how long do you suppose before someone re-starts pairing up Obama-Clinton as an ideal political couple dancing their way together to Nov. 4?

-- Andrew Malcolm

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dance the Oscar-winning number "The Continental" in the 1934 classic "The Gay Divorcee."
File photo